People-centric approach towards Central Asia to strengthen ties: FM

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, June 13 (APP):Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Thursday said Pakistan was focusing on adopting people-centric approach, in addition to formal diplomacy in order to strengthen ties with Central Asian states.

Addressing a gathering of Pakistani community in the Kyrgyz capital, he said commonalities of culture, religion and traditions could bring Pakistan closer with Central Asia.

The foreign minister said the government had taken steps to promote tourism as a mean to develop people-to-people contacts with other countries and also relaxed its visa regime to encourage foreign tourists.

Owing to scenic beauty, he said the Central Asian states could become a good holiday destination for Pakistani tourists apart from their usual trend of heading towards the West.

However, he regretted that absence of direct air links between Pakistan and Central Asian countries could be an impediment which needed to be worked out.